Whether you have been shaving all your life or just started, male grooming is just as important as female grooming.
Shaving involves more than buying any flashy razor and shaving gel or foam advertised on TV and using that to trim your facial hair.
Getting it right from the word go on shaving and having the right shaving kit will go a long way in having not only a good looking beard but a healthy one too.
It’s not easy finding a shaving kit since there are so many options in the market hence this guide.
- What Are Shaving Kits for Men
- Benefits of Using Shaving Kits for Men
- How Do Shaving Kits for Men Work
- Tools in Shaving Kits for Men
- How to Choose the Best Shaving Kit
- Razor Options in Shaving Kits for Men
- Shaving Brush Grades in Shaving Kits for Men
- How to Shave Without Irritation
- Classic Razors vs Electric Trimmers
- Does More Spending Mean More Quality
- Do’s and Don’ts With Shaving Kits for Men
- FAQ About Shaving Kits for Men
What Are Shaving Kits for Men
A shaving kit for men, just as the name suggests, is a collection of everything you would ever need to keep a well-trimmed beard. Shaving kits normally contain a razor, pre-shave treatment, shaving gel or foam and aftershave balm.
There are a variety of options on the market when it comes to shaving kits and it’s up to you to know what you need to look for. From old school shaving kits to the luxury ones, there is everything for all types of beards.
While it may seem that all you need to do is go online and look up shaving kits when you want to buy one, it’s never that simple.
For one, the style you are going for matters and so does whether you want a close shave or a shape up. You also need to consider whether you need an electric or old school shaving kit.
Benefits of Using Shaving Kits for Men
Just like shaving cream lubricates and provides smooth shaving, there are a few benefits of owning a shaving kit.
When you are buying a shaving kit, one thing you will realize is that you will pay less than if you were to buy the items separately.
Make for an Easier Purchase
A shaving kit makes for an easier purchase in that you would need to source for the items separately, which can be hard, especially for those who are just getting into wet shaving.
When you buy items from different manufacturers, the chances are that you will end up with a variety of items that don’t look good together and don’t work well.
Buying a custom created kit solves this problem where all the items have a basic design and therefore work well together.
Some shaving kits come with a variety of replaceable items like shaving creams, soaps, and safety razors.
This makes it possible for a beginner, especially to sort through the different products from different manufacturers to find a brand that works for them.
How Do Shaving Kits for Men Work
Achieving the perfect shave involves more than some shaving gel and a razor. You need a shaving kit, which, as mentioned, is a set of grooming products that are designed for the smoothest of shaves.
What to look for in a shaving kit is not definite and it’s up to you to decide what you need. To understand how shaving kits work, it’s important for you to have an idea of what is contained in the shaving kit.
The razor is the most obvious and it can either be a straight razor with a sharp blade, safety or cartridge razor. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, which will determine what you go with.
A badger brush is also contained in the shaving kit and it is used to build lather and lift the hairs for a smooth shave. A pre and the post-shave kit is also contained in the kit and it includes an aftershave, shaving cream, gel, pre-shave oil or an exfoliant.
When you are buying a shaving kit, go for one that has at least two of these facial agents. A shaving bowl will help you build thick lather and keeps the solution warm for the entire duration of your shave.
You could also get a shaving kit that has a strop, which is a strip of leather that is used to sharpen the blades of a straight razor. Some companies will also include a travel bag with their shaving kits, which at the end of the day, gives you value for your money.
Tools in Shaving Kits for Men
A shaving tool contains everything you will need for a clean and smooth shave. Some of the tools that are contained in a standard shaving kit include;
If you have never used a shaving brush before, then any shaving brush will make a whole lot of difference in your shaving routine, especially if you have the world’s best shaving soap or cream to go with that.
There are, however a few factors to consider in a shaving brush. When you are buying a brush, go with a soft shaving brush that’s gentle on the skin, in which case the fiber type is the most important factor to consider.
Most of the time, most shaving brushes will have badger hair, which is sourced from different parts of a badger.
They exist in different grades, which include pure, best, super and silvertip. There are companies that try to pass off the inferior quality of badger hair as silvertip by dying the edges; hence this is something that you need to pay attention to.
While the dye is a non-issue, if you really want a high-quality brush, then you will need to spend more. However, at the end of the day, a pure badger hair brush, regardless of the grade, will make a whole lot of difference when you are shaving compared to using your hands.
The main role of a shaving brush is to help build thick lather when you are using a shaving cream, which allows for a more comfortable and smooth shave.
Additionally, if you happen to use your hands to spread the shaving cream, the hairs are matted down against the skin as compared to when you use a shaving brush.
With a shaving brush, the hairs stand on the edge, which reduces tugging and pulling when you are shaving.
While your razor and shaving brush don’t deteriorate when they are left sitting on the bathroom counter, a shaving stand that is included in almost every shaving kit will do a good job of keeping your brush and razor hygienic.
If you shave a few times a week, whether with a safety or cartridge razor, the razor plus the brush will not collect mold as well as other bacteria when you are using a stand.
A stand will also come in handy in helping dry the razor and brush quickly as compared to having them resting in a puddle of water on the counter. As far as quality, it is recommended that you go with metallic stands since they are more durable and stronger and will not tip over easily.
When you are looking or a stand, stainless steel or chrome-plated one is ideal since it is less likely to rust.
While plastic stands are also an option, go with the ones that have a weighted bottom such that they won’t tip over.
The most important component of any shaving kit is the shaving razor. Shaving razors that are contained in shaving kits come in different categories; cartridge, straight and double edge safety razors.
If you are just starting out, then it is recommended that you go with a shaving kit that has a cartridge razor. It is easier to use and not to mention cheaper when you are buying.
The other two types of shaving razors give you the ultimate wet shaving experience with low running costs.
Shavettes have larger and sharper blades that are disposable and they are also cheaper than cartridge razors, although the initial investment cost is higher.
While a shaving bowl is not really necessary in a shaving kit, at the end of the day, it enhances your grooming experience. A shaving bowl is used to create a lather when you are shaving.
A shaving bowl is also used to keep the lather warm during the shave, something that you need for a close and smooth shave.
While you can use a cup to create later, buying a shaving kit that has a shaving bowl is one way of getting value for your money at the end of the day.
A shaving bowl can be made with different materials from ceramic, metal to wood. However, ceramic shaving bowls are the best since they keep lather warm throughout the duration of the shave, but they are also more fragile and will break when dropped compared to wood and metal.
Shaving Cream, Foam or Gel
Even the best shaving kit will not provide that perfect shave if it doesn’t have the right supporting components. While you can apply pre-shave oil to prevent irritation, you cannot overlook the benefits of having a shaving gel, cream or foam in the mix.
When you are buying a shaving cream or gel, just like when you’re purchasing beard oil, you want to go with the best and that means considering the ingredients.
Most shaving creams that you buy at your local drug store contain alcohol. When you are shaving, you take off a small layer of your skin and shaving cream that contains alcohol then becomes problematic.
This is because it dries out the skin even further after shaving. Dry skin is more susceptible to irritation and may also contribute to ashier skin.
Quality shaving cream, gel or foam allows for the nourishment of the skin and also provides richer lather that contributes to a comfortable shave whether you are using a premium cartridge razor or safety razor.
Additionally, find a shaving gel that works even for sensitive skin and doesn’t cause irritation for a comfortable shaving experience.
Contrary to popular belief, an aftershave splash is not supposed to burn to indicate that it’s doing its job and that’s what most of the aftershave splashes do because they contain alcohol.
While alcohol is great since it opens up your pores, it also dries the skin, which could lead to irritation.
Shaving balms offer all the benefits of shaving splashes only that they don’t contain alcohol. They keep your pores flushed out and will contain ingredients that ensure that your skin remains moisturized after a shave.
How to Choose the Best Shaving Kit
When you are buying a shaving kit, there are certain factors that you need to consider so that you can settle for one that meets all your shaving needs and enhances your shaving experience at the end of it all.
Personal Shaving Style
One of the important factors that you need to consider when you are buying a shaving kit is your shaving style.
If you are like most men, then the chances are that you change your shaving style every now and then. You may either decide to go with stubble or a little shape up without touching the beard.
There are men, however, who have more conviction and will stick to one shaving style all through, which is why your shaving style matters.
This is because your style will determine the shaving kit that you buy. If you want a specific cut length or shaping tools, then you can’t overlook this.
The last thing you want is to start shaving only to realize midway that you may be missing some tools that you need to achieve your desired look.
This is one factor that most people ignore and will just see a shaving kit and buy it without thinking about the price.
While this is a habit that points to problems in your finance management, at the end of the day, value for your money matters.
Instead, set a budget and ensure that it’s something that you can comfortably work with. By doing this, you are less likely to beat yourself up if the shaving kit you buy is not really what you had desired.
As such, always go for the maximum of what you can afford because the last thing you want is to buy a cheap shaving kit that doesn’t work for you when you can afford a better one.
When all is said and done, however, rather than getting stuck on the price, ensure that the kit you get gives you the best value for your money and the only way to ensure this is to consider other factors like the tools contained, your shaving style, the brand and quality of the kit.
It makes sense to go for a shaving kit that will last you for years rather than buying a cheap one that you will need to replace in a couple of months, which at the end of the day forces you to spend even more.
While customer reviews should always be taken with a pinch of salt, since they may be fake or paid for, the genuine ones are a great way of determining the quality of the product that you are about to buy.
Customer reviews tell a lot about a product before you go spending your money, hence why you need to consider them.
If the shaving kit you are targeting has a lot of positive reviews and includes photos as well as descriptions of the shaving styles, then the chances are that it’s a quality product.
Likewise, if a shaving kit has a lot of negative reviews and people with your shaving style say it’s not the best for that particular style, then don’t spend money on it but look elsewhere.
It’s easy to imagine that all shaving kits are the same and feel the same, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
A good quality shaving kit will enhance your shaving experience. With such a kit, the shaving process can go from something that you are supposed to do to an enjoyable activity.
If you get a high-quality shaving kit, the better your shave will be in that you will have fewer irritations and a closer and smoother shave.
You know how uncomfortable it is when the razor keeps tugging on your hair when you are shaving, which can be avoided by switching to a higher quality shaving kit even if it means spending more.
Even though this is highly debatable, in some way, the brand plays a role in the quality of a shaving kit. Going for a well-known brand is a much safer option than settling for the less known ones.
While all brands start somewhere, at this age and time, you want your purchase to be risk-free. Picking a well-known brand gives you the confidence that your money will not be wasted even if it doesn’t live up to your expectations, which is usually rare.
If you are thinking about buying from a less known brand that doesn’t have a lot of reviews, then you need to go with a kit that comes with a warranty. This way, you get a kit that has a risk free period in case it doesn’t perform as advertised.
Type and Style
While this may sound general, especially if you have never bought a shaving kit, it is something worth considering.
Shaving kits come in a variety of styles as well as types and it’s always good if you know beforehand what you are actually looking for.
For one, you may need a simple kit that has a safety razor, especially if you are a beginner, in which case an old school or luxury shaving kit may complicate things for you.
Whatever you are looking for, being aware of your own preferences will go a long way. It means that you not only get something that you will enjoy using but can make the whole shopping experience less tedious.
Razor Options in Shaving Kits for Men
One of the most important tools in any shaving kit for men is the razors and there are different kinds that you can find.
They all have their advantages and disadvantages and whatever you choose will depend on your personal preferences.
Double Edge Safety Razor
Safety razors have been there for decades and it’s one of the options when you buy a shaving kit. Sensitive skin requires a special razor type and that’s where double edge safety razors come in.
If you experience skin irritation and razor bumps after you have shaved with disposable or cartridge razors, then a safety razor will make a whole lot of difference.
Cartridge razors use the lift and cut method, which is great in achieving a close shave, but there is only one problem. This method becomes problematic if you go against the grain, which happens a lot of the times and leads to razor bumps.
Safety razors, on the other hand, are easy to use and you will rarely cause razor bumps, irritation or even ingrown hairs.
Additionally, if you are on a budget, then a double edge safety razor will work perfectly for you. While the handles of safety razors cost more, usually about $30 to $70, a box of blades is affordable.
A cartridge razor is made up of a plastic handle that requires you to exert pressure when you are shaving.
The razor works by using the hinge to provide a constant angle when you are shaving, which is one of the selling points of cartridge razors since it makes shaving easy and quick.
The main disadvantage, however, with cartridge razors lies in the blades. They have multiple blades that are located close together and what this means is that the razor doesn’t cut cleanly in a single pass.
In fact, you may need several passes if you have thicker hair. As the blades pass along the skin, they tend to pull the hairs and not to mention the close proximity of the blades means that the razor gets clogged quickly.
Additionally, the blades of cartridge razors cost more than those of safety razors even though the initial cost is less; hence long term cost is something that you need to consider.
Shaving Brush Grades in Shaving Kits for Men
A shaving brush is important when you want to build thick lather and the main material used is badger hair.
There are, however, different grades of badger hair that are used and this is something you need to pay attention to get value for your money.
This the most readily available grade of badger hair and it comes from a huge percent of a badger’s body. As such, it is the least expensive and makes a good starting point for anyone who wants to learn wet shaving before moving on to high quality and more expensive brushes.
Pure badger hair ranges in color from dark tan to black and has a coarse texture to it than the high-grade hair.
Shaving brushes that are made of pure badger hair are usually trimmed at the tips to form the shape of the brush loft. This means that the tips are blunter, which gives them a scratchier feel, which some men find appealing for exfoliation.
The coarse texture also comes in handy when lathering soap since it is able to agitate the surface of the soap better.
Best badger is an improvement of the pure grade. It is harvested from the large areas of the badger, which include the belly region.
The hair ranges from light brown to gray and there is more color separation in the length of the hair, which is referred to as banded.
This grade of badger hair has better water absorbing qualities compared to pure badger, which makes it the most ideal for creating quality lather, especially if you are using a dense cream that needs more water to hydrate when you are lathering.
When it comes to feel, the best badger hair has a softer feel and is not as scratchy. However, it still has some light scrubbiness and offers a good texture.
Most people find that the best badger hairbrushes offer the best value for money in terms of quality and performance.
Super badger grade of hair is much finer as well as softer compared to the best grade one. It is not as readily available since it is harvested from the back of the animal.
It has a distinctive color pattern with a black banded midsection and whiter tips. The white tips are super soft and have little to no scratchiness.
The hair is often treated by some manufacturers to enhance the whiteness. However, compared to the fewer quality brushes, the tips have that natural taper and don’t need to be trimmed.
The white tips are shorter and make up the smallest percentage of the hair shaft length. Since the brushes are filled with finer hair, more individual hairs are needed to fill the knot of the brush to make them soft without affecting the density.
With super badger hair, proper care is required. This is because the brushes are filled with delicate hair, which is susceptible to damage if the brush is abused or not dried the right way after use.
The fineness of the super badger hairs gives it better water absorbing properties in which case the density as well as the water holding capacity of such brushes, offer a noticeable difference in performance when you are lathering creams and soaps.
The brushes are able to create the richest and creamiest lather making them ideal for men who are looking for the finest quality that shaving brushes have to offer. Since it is high in quality, such brushes are therefore more expensive but are worth it at the end of the day.
This hair is found in the neck area of a badger and is, therefore, the rarest and highest in terms of quality. There has always been confusion regarding the differences between super and silvertip badger hair.
Silvertip hair is sorted and is graded based on specific characteristics of coloring and softness. Just like super badger hair, silvertip has the same distinct color banding but is much softer and has by far the most luxurious natural tips and has the most defined contrast between the white and black bands.
Additionally, the hair is very delicate and caring for the brush should be among the top priorities so as to prevent damage and breaking.
The tips of the hair are usually not treated and are left with their natural white color. The hair is super fine and has, therefore, better water-absorbing properties as well as feel compared to super although they both create the same quality lather from creams and soaps.
Both can create a rich and dense lather, but silvertip has a distinctive feel against the skin. The difference in pricing between silvertip and super badger hair brushes is often debatable, but due to the scarcity of silvertip, the brushes are more expensive.
How to Shave Without Irritation
Step 1 – Wet the face
Before you begin shaving, the first thing you need to do is wet your face with warm water. This opens up the pores and softens the hair to allow for a smooth shave when you apply gel or cream.
You also need to adjust a shaving mirror at the right angle to avoid injuring yourself in the process.
Step 2 – Add a good amount of shaving gel
Shaving gel is supposed to minimize friction when you are shaving, which will be caused by the sharp blade.
For a smooth and clean shave, be liberal with the gel and use the right amount and then massage it directly into the skin.
Step 3 – Ensure the skin is clean
When you are shaving, the razor tends to scrape the thinnest layer of your skin. To keep your skin healthy, ensure that your hands are clean.
Also, ensure that you wash your face before you shave to remove dust and sweat that can prevent water from penetrating into the skin for a smooth shave.
Step 3 – Start with the easier parts
Start from one side of the face when you are shaving, working down the sideburns first. Since these are flat areas, the gel works faster in such areas.
Leave the trickier parts like around the ears, chin and lip hairs so as to give the gel more time to work.
Step 4 – Remember to use the aftershave balm
Contrary to popular belief, cologne and aftershave balm or gel are not the same. For one, the older brands contain alcohol, which disinfects the skin after a shave but stings and leaves the skin drier than it was.
Instead, use a good aftershave gel or balm that has moisturizing properties and soothes the skin, something that you need after a shave.
Classic Razors vs Electric Trimmers
Just like a foil shaver requires less preparation, classic razors only have one option and that is shaving. The goal of such razors is to provide a clean and smooth shave and will give you the closest cut to the skin.
Classic razors can have adjustable blades but don’t have the versatility of electric blades. An electric trimmer on the hand comes in different forms, but the goals are always the same; to trim your hair.
While such trimmers are used mainly to trim the hair, they are more versatile in that they can offer you the same cut that is offered by classic razors.
Using an electric trimmer on the lowest setting gives you the same close and clean shave of a classic razor.
Additionally, compared to classic razors, electric trimmers can be used on dry skin. It is also highly unlikely that you will hurt yourself or develop any skin sensitivity issues by using an electric trimmer.
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
When you are buying a shaving kit, more spending does mean more quality. While you may want to spend as little as possible at the end of the day, what matters is that you are getting value for your money.
The last thing you want is to buy a shaving kit that you will need to replace in a few months because the shaving tools are of inferior quality.
High-end shaving kits have better razors, better shaving bowls like those made of metal or ceramic, they have high-quality shaving brushes that are made with high-quality badger hair, better shaving gel, and aftershave balm and most of the times will be sold by well-known brands.
While it doesn’t mean that you need to go breaking the bank to own a shaving kit, ensure that what you are getting is quality and that means spending decently.
Do’s and Don’ts With Shaving Kits for Men
- Do ensure that the kit has the right tools in which case, a shaving razor and cream will not cut it.
- Do ensure that the hair is wet when you are shaving to prevent tugging and pulling that could lead to razor bumps and ingrown hairs.
- Do build thick lather and ensure that it stays warm throughout the entire shaving duration.
- Don’t shave against the grain since this will lead to irritations and razor bumps.
- Don’t ever skip the aftershave if you don’t want to suffer from unnecessary skin irritations.
FAQ About Shaving Kits for Men
How often should I change my blades?
There is no set rule as to when you need to change the blades. The rule of thumb, however, is that you need to replace the blades as soon as they become dull. How often this happens will depend on the quality of the blades, your hair type, and maintenance.
What are some favorite old-fashioned style shaving kits and can you still buy them today?
Some of the old fashioned shaving kits include the Gentleman Jon Deluxe Wet Shaving Kit, Grandslam Luxury Shaving Set, Proraso Vintage Gino Tin Gift Set, among others. While such may be hard to find in physical stores, there is a huge collection of them on the internet.
Male grooming has come a long way with beard grooming being the most common. For men who want to look good, a nicely trimmed beard is the best way of achieving that and what better way to do that than with a shaving kit? Shaving kits contain everything you need for a smooth and clean shave from shaving razors, brushes, razor stands, shaving bowls, shaving cream, foam or gel, and aftershave balm. The one you choose will depend on your personal preference as well as your budget.
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